Simple Steps to Creating a Fun and Healthy Nutrition Program

Simple Steps to Creating a Fun and Healthy Nutrition Program

The safety and well-being of our residents is always important, and that includes many aspects of resident care, including dining and nutrition.  

With proper nutrition and hydration, residents have fewer medical issues (i.e. UTI’s, falls, etc.), which means they can have healthier and more active lives. Not only can a fall result in a life changing injury to a senior, it can also negatively impact your community occupancy and potentially your reputation.

At Five Star Senior Living, our service pillars are Dining & Nutrition, Health & Wellness, and Warmth & Hospitality. These pillars overlap as an excellent dining program encourages good nutrition, socialization, and a healthier, happier individual. With the help of celebrity chef Brad Miller, Five Star has incorporated the “Exceptional Dining” concept into the assisted living environment. We ask ourselves how we can make dining in the same restaurant every day an enjoyable experience. We accomplish this by eliminating institutional type meal planning, offering restaurant style dining with a variety of menu choices, using fresh produce, featuring regional cuisine, and learning our residents’ preferences. Creating a fun dining atmosphere through chef demonstrations, themed dinners, parties, and events, makes dining the highlight of the day.

Resident participation is a key to success. At Morningside, we keep our residents excited about dining by involving them. We incorporate resident recipes into our menus, have group cooking activities, and hold regular food committee meetings so residents are part of the menu planning process.

Proper hydration is also very important. Offering fluid options with meals and having a hospitality station that offers fruit flavored water, tea, coffee, and our signature cookies encourages drinking. Twice-daily hydration rounds to each apartment—offering water, lemonade and snacks, including fresh fruit—works well for us.

Mealtime provides that special “family time” for residents to socialize. As caregivers, it provides us with a venue where we can visit with residents while they are all together and recognize potential nutritional changes that may develop.

As the leader of your community, be sure to “touch the tables” at mealtimes and demonstrate the importance of good nutrition and hydration. Pour the coffee or tea, pick up the plates, and you will learn all you need to know about each resident and the choices they are making.  

By Paula Moore, CDAL
Executive Director
Morningside of Fayetteville
Five Star Senior Living